In the past months, PACT and some of its Partners have worked together to organise a multi-stakeholder conference of the Patient Access Partnership entitled “The future of health in the EU. United we stand strong”, planned to take place in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 31 May – 1 June, 2018 under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. 

However, given the importance and relevance of the topic and in order to maximize the outcomes of the conference, the Steering Committee of PACT has taken a decision to postpone the conference to a more appropriate date.

The conference remains a major priority of PACT and we remain committed to give a clear answer on the future of cooperation in health in the EU before the European Parliament elections in 2019. The decision of the Steering Committee will ensure high-level presence and stakeholder involvement which will guarantee quality of the discussions and will generate policy impact.

Alternative options would be to hold the conference during the Austrian Presidency, during the Romanian Presidency (in early 2019 before the EU Parliament elections) or as a stand-alone conference in Brussels.

The decision came as a result of a number of unforeseen challenges which caused overall delay in the preparation of the event and reduced the chances to secure the participation of key speakers on the approved draft agenda, including European Commission, MEPs and policy-makers. Additionally, the limited timing posed procedural challenges to the funders who expressed interest to support the conference.

Moving the date of the conference is a strategic decision to ensure high-level participation, improve the overall outcomes as per our expectations, optimise the possibility to conduct appropriate follow-up actions and provide space for organisation of the conference under less pressure.

We are pleased that the political support for the conference was reconfirmed by EU and national policy-makers as well as partners and health stakeholders.